If you or someone you know is suffering from a thyroid condition, then you are aware just how this tiny gland can affect the whole body.
The thyroid gland can be found in the lower part of the neck and its main role is to produce hormones, particularly thyroxine (T4), and triodothyroinine (T3). T4 is the inactive form and is first produced by the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland. T3 is the active form and is basically T4 converted as it gets sent throughout the body.
These hormones are responsible for instructing and regulating important metabolic functions in the human body, such as weight regulation, energy regulation, temperature regulation, and metabolism.
When Thyroid Hormones Become Imbalanced
When the thyroid gland is unable to produce the proper amounts of hormones, that is when problems arise. Two thyroid conditions comes to mind — hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
- Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid is unable to produce enough T3 and T4, causing a slow metabolism. It is also called an underactive thyroid. Common signs and symptoms are: sudden weight gain or difficulty losing weight; dry, flaky skin; thinning of hair or hair loss; fatigue.
- Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, is when the thyroid produces way too much T3 and T4. An overactive thyroid would cause the body’s metabolism to increase above healthy levels. Signs and symptoms seen in patients with hyperthyroidism are: sudden weight loss or difficulty putting on weight; warm, moist, and sometimes itchy, skin; thinning of hair or hair loss; fatigue.
That said, it may seem easy to rule out that a patient with these symptoms may be having thyroid issues, but actually, it could be due to a different condition altogether. Thus, it is best to consult with a Practitioner first to get tested and see if it is indeed your thyroid that is causing your symptoms or some other underlying cause that needs to be corrected or treated.
Nutritionist To The Rescue
There are nutrients that help correct thyroid imbalances, and protect the gland from any further damage should the body becomes unwell or inflamed. The basic essential nutrients are:
- Iodine. Hormones that are produced by the thyroid gland contain iodine as part of their chemical structure. Too low iodine and the gland will become enlarged trying to get more from the blood (goitre). Iodine levels must be at the right levels and can be sourced from egg yolk, seaweed, seafood such as scallops or fish.
- Tyrosine. Tyrosine is an amino acid that is another component of thyroid hormones. Like iodine, it is crucial that tyrosine levels are enough. Food sources include protein-rich foods such as animal protein, nuts, seeds, legumes, and soy protein
- Selenium. A mineral that is necessary for the conversion of inactive T4 into active T3. When T4 is converted into T3, it causes a natural level of oxidative stress on the thyroid gland. Selenium’s role is to prevent the oxidation from damaging the thyroid tissue. Brazil nuts, seafood (yellow fin tuna having the most selenium among seafood), beef, turkey, chicken, cereal and grains and dairy products are good sources of selenium.
Metabolism And Thyroid
The thyroid gland impacts your metabolic processes greatly, and thus, when it goes malfunctioning, it will largely affect your overall health. If you have noticed changes to your energy levels, weight, skin, and hair, it’s best to talk to a naturopath practitioner right away. Your thyroid may be in need of your help.